ABL: LA Tenorio had a hand in Alab Pilipinas’ championship

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 10, 2018 05:09 PM
ABL: LA Tenorio had a hand in Alab Pilipinas’ championship
Danny Seigle and LA Tenorio both provided a big boost for head coach Jimmy Alapag and Alab Pilipinas' championship

Jimmy Alapag is a champion in his first year as head coach and Alab Pilipinas is a champion in its second season of existence.

Overcoming very game Mono Vampire in a Finals series that went the distance, the Filipinos have taken the regional trophy back home for the first time since 2013.

That 2013 championship was won by the San Miguel Beermen.

And in this 2018 championship, San Miguel played a big part. “Of course, (they came) aboard when things weren’t looking good at the start of the season. Who knows if we would even be here without their support,” Alapag said.

The Philippine team’s initial backer withdrew their support after five games, citing differences with Alapag and team owner Charlie Dy.

And so, Alab was left without somebody to steer them through the rough seas of the Southeast Asian pay-for-play league.

That was until Alapag reached out to a former teammate in the national team – and technically, a former rival. “I could tell you guys now that I reached out to LA Tenorio. He was able to connect (us) to boss Alfrancis [Chua]. It really set off from there,” he shared.

As a player, Alapag was a stalwart for both TNT and Meralco. Tenorio, on the other hand, is now Ginebra’s longtime court general.

In the end, Tenorio’s assist for Alapag proved to be the turning point for the Filipinos – as the new backer’s entry steadied a rudderless ship. “When you lose your sponsor five games into the season, that’s not ideal. I know Charlie and I looked into each other and said, ‘So now what,’” the latter shared.

He then continued, “For them to come on board and support us the way they did, that’s big. All of us deserve (this championship).”

Along with that, the always amiable mentor wanted to give thanks to the team’s management and staff for doing what was needed to be done for the title. “I’m just thankful for the guys behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see,” he said.

And for all they have accomplished, especially as it came against all odds, Alapag is nothing but proud. “I’m just really thankful for all our guys. I’m proud of them because there’s nothing like bringing the championship back home,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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